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Naomichi Marufuji Issues Response After Match with Kota Ibushi Goes Off the Rails

6 months ago Taiga | Monthly Puroresu

Taiga | Monthly Puroresu

Naomichi Marufuji Issues Response After Match with Kota Ibushi Goes Off the Rails

Naomichi Marufuji vs. Kota Ibushi ended with an ambulance ride. Marufuji reviewed the state of his body, and the match itself after its conclusion.

By: R. Faliani

Editor’s Note: This article was revised for accuracy and clarity on 1.3 at 14:31 JST

At NOAH the New Year 2024, Naomichi Marufuji and Kota Ibushi wrestled a disturbing match as the co-main event in front of an announced 5,000+ at Ariake Arena.

Ibushi went into it injured, and left in an ambulance. Fans in attendance and online were aghast at what was once heralded as a Dream Match throughout the performance, as a visibly hurt “Golden Star” continued to battle serious injury for the fans and for his honor.

Amid chaos and uncertainty for Ibushi’s future, Marufuji wrote a long message talking about a lot of things. He discusseds feelings on the match and its fallout, and opined about time potentially passing him by. Marufuji is 44 years old, and he’s celebrating his 26th Anniversary as a pro-wrestler. In his message, shared via his account on X (formerly known as Twitter), Marufuji was clear:

“This match 10, 15 years ago could have stolen the show. It could have been done, but we can’t avoid it, and we’re in the year 2024. This is who we are. We wrestled in different combinations, but this match was done by any means. I have to be the best pro wrestler, and I’m still NOAH. That’s all.”

Marufuji even shared his thoughts on the future of NOAH as a promotion, talking about the GHC Heavyweight Champion specifically.

“The important wrestlers today were Jake Lee, Kaito Kiyomiya, and Kenoh. Manabu Soya and Go Shiozaki did a great job too. But for me…I’m going to keep being their wall because I’m still here. They are strong, young, and insanely good, but I will not quit.”

Even if his written message was strong and clear, the Marufuji was silent and contemplative for 5+ minutes before fielding questions from the Japanese press. One he could not answer: What does the future hold for Ibushi now?

The news about Ibushi’s ambulance ride was first reported by SportsHochi. “Kota Ibushi got into an ambulance right after the match ended. He got injured at the beginning of the match and went to a hospital in Tokyo.”

Ibushi had already claimed a broken a hand and foot on his Youtube channel Dec. 25.

Looking back at the approximate 5-hour show, there’s a strong case to be made Ibushi shouldn’t have gone out there in spite of the hype from the event.

The fans’ reactions online ranged from empathy to outrage, as Ibushi spent more than a decade winning over audiences worldwide with his awe-inspiring techniques but looked like a shell of himself in the match. People questioned why NOAH decided to put Ibushi in, sacrificing the well-earned buzz from a spectacular Main Event in Kenoh vs. Manabu Soya for the GHC Heavyweight Title.

It’s possible the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion could used weighted insight from his close circle and doctors, supposing he expects longevity in his wrestling career. Depending on what doctors decide, Ibushi may well consider an extended absence despite his recently signed deal with All Elite Wrestling.

Here’s some of the reaction to the bout on X:

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